Like everyone else on planet Earth, we were expecting for the next generation of graphics cards based on the “Ada Lovelace” architecture to be announced at the GTC fall 2022 conference this week, but we did not expect for the company to deliver a passively cooled, datacenter server friendly variant of the GeForce RTX 6000 series quite so fast.
And judging from the lack of detailed information about the new L40 GPU accelerator and its AD102 GPU, maybe Nvidia didn’t expect it, either.
Before we get into all of that, we would like to file a complaint. Naming conventions matter because they tell us things architecturally and also give us synonyms as we are reading and writing.
If CPUs and GPUs are going to paired or paralleled by Nvidia going forward – which is absolutely fine – and the company is going to use a first name to denote a CPU codename and a last name to denote a GPU codename – which is fine, and even appropriate, really – then it cannot suddenly decide to break that new pattern and all of its prior patterns of using last names as GPU codenames and call this one “Ada Lovelace,” after the famous programmer of Charles Babbitt’s Difference Engine. This GPU should have been called “Lovelace” and that’s it, and the GPU chip that was actually announced should be the GL102, not the AD102. And while we are at it, the “Turing” GPUs for gaming and inference that preceded the Lovelace GPUs just revealed should have been named GT102 and GT104, not TU102 and TU104. (The DPUs should similarly be given proper codenames, compute chip names, and board names just like the GPUs and CPUs.)
And, there should be a corresponding future Arm-based CPU denoted by the “Ada” codename. For all we know, that was the original plan and this double codename is meant to obfuscate this fact. Or, a cut-down version of the “Grace” is coming some time in the future for edge and other use cases. To be consistent, the Grace CPU, which is as yet unnamed, should be called the CG100 – “C” for CPU and “G” for Grace and “100” because that is where Nvidia starts with its chip product numbers. And for the Lovelace GL102 GPU, there might be an Ada Arm CPU, which we might call the CA100.
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